FOR Clear, musical sound; surefooted organisation; build AGAINST Newer competitors have raised the bar
In 2008, KEF launched the high-end Muon speakers. They were limitededition aluminium towers, sculpted by industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, and they cost £140,000 per pair. Yikes!
Thankfully their pint-sized descendant, our Award-winner at this price point in 2015, is a lot more accessible. The Muo may be cheaper than its relative, but the premium pedigree is immediately apparent. The grille gives it the same sculpted hourglass aesthetic of the Muon and helps make it one of the more attractive portable wireless speakers we’ve seen.
Nothing wet here
It feels pretty tough too, and its weight and structural integrity are consistent with something Colonel Mustard might use in the library. It doesn’t have any waterproofing skills, however, which rules out taking the Muo to rainy festivals or summer picnics.
On the inside are two 5cm drivers and a bass radiator. The drivers are an unusual design where the diaphragm is a combination of dome and cone sections, decoupled with a flexible membrane. The idea is to emulate the behaviour and characteristics of KEF’S Uni-q drivers in a simpler, more mechanical way.
One of the main features here is Bluetooth 4.0 with aptx. No Bluetooth? Then you can connect with a 3.5mm cable, though it’s not included.
Things are moving on
Fine, but does the audio performance still stand up after a year’s-worth of improvements by its competitors? To an extent, yes. The KEF Muo is a versatile performer, capable of doing portable justice to Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and Prince’s Like A Mack alike. It brings an undeniable energy to the party.
This performance is defined by clarity, tight timing and relatively wide dynamics. Insight and panache are immediately apparent – an impression that never wavers as we switch from cheesy rock to commercial pop via cinematic soundtrack (Kiss, Taylor Swift and Star Wars, in case you’re wondering). It’s all hugely musical.
Considering the box is merely 21cm long, there’s a good sense of space – but you shouldn’t expect it to rock the room. But what the Muo lacks in scale and brute force it makes up for with articulacy.
The KEF Muo can be used horizontally or vertically, but we prefer the sound when it is placed horizontally, as it feels more balanced and focused.
For the most part this is enough to keep it near the top of the tree in this price bracket, but there’s no getting away from the fact the industry has moved on somewhat over the past 12 months. Pit it against the Dali Katch, for example, and you see that an extra £30 will get you greater scale, far more space, a greater sense of dynamics, and a more detailed and musical sound. It’s still well worth an audition though.
Multi-room option 12 hours battery life aptx Bluetooth
You can position the Muo vertically or horizontally. We prefer the latter